The Rainmaker by John Grisham

The Blurb: Rudy Baylor is a newly qualified lawyer; he has one case, and one case alone, to save himself from his mounting debts. It is a bad faith suit against a giant insurance company which could have saved a young man’s life, but has instead refused to pay the claim until it is too late.

The settlement could be worth millions of dollars, but there is one problem: Rudy has never argued a case in court before and he’s up against the most expensive lawyers money can buy.

the rainmaker

The copy of The Rainmaker we have is signed by my mother and dated as Dec,1996 ! I picked it up to read because its a courtroom drama and I haven’t actually read any so far. But I’ve watched A Few Good Men over 10 times and have watched enough of The Practice to fall in love with the genre. 

The story is set in Memphis and the protagonist is Rudy Baylor, a young law student struggling to make ends meet. The students are required to visit an old age home and give free legal counsel as part of their coursework. It is during this visit he gets the bad faith suit from an elderly couple. The story takes off from this point.

First off, if you’re expecting intense courtroom debates and action a la Boston Legal, etc. you will be disappointed. With a total of 50 odd chapters, the actual trial starts only at chapter 42. The story is more about Rudy and the various hurdles he has to jump over to set his life straight. There is another parallel track of his interactions with the young and beautiful Kelly Riker whom he meets at the hospital. This track throws up a few surprises in the end.

Despite the lack of fierce courtroom encounters, I found it extremely likable because the characters are so well-written, especially Baylor. You can’t help but like even the unabashed “ambulance-chaser” Deck Schifflet who is Rudy’s “paralawyer”. Rudy Baylor gets through college hating it, doesn’t attend his graduation day and smiles when his enemies don’t pass the bar exam. While my family and friends still grapple with my decision to not attend graduation day, I’m sure Rudy Baylor (and maybe even John Grisham) will empathize with me.

I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m curious to know how it has worked out on screen. So if you’re reading this and have beaten me to the movie, let me know what you thought of it.